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Gıdahattı / Climate change is also to blame for the increase in olive oil prices!

Gıdahattı / Climate change is also to blame for the increase in olive oil prices!
Gıdahattı / Climate change is also to blame for the increase in olive oil prices!


While olive oil prices in the world continue to increase due to the decrease in production, experts emphasised that the extreme heat caused by climate change and the extreme cold that varies according to regions cause olive trees to dry out, which leads to an increase in the prices of table olives and olive oil.


According to data from the International Trade Centre (ITC), approximately 3 million tonnes of olive oil is produced in the world. Turkey is one of the leading countries in olive oil production with 300 thousand tonnes per year. However, olive oil production has decreased due to the extreme heat caused by climate change and extreme cold temperatures varying according to regions, which caused the olive trees to dry out, thus reducing their number. This led to an increase in the prices of table olives and olive oil.


Due to the high increases in olive oil prices in Turkey, export funds were first introduced, but when this failed to prevent price increases, the Ministry of Trade announced that banned the export of olive oil until the harvest starting on 1 November 2023.


"Eight countries produce 75 per cent of the olive oil produced"


Emphasising that there are only 10 olive oil producing countries in the world, Mücahit Taha Özkaya, Director of Ankara University Food Safety Institute, noted that these countries located in the Mediterranean Basin produce 90 percent of the world's olive oil production.


Stating that Turkey needs 2.5 million vegetable oil per year, Özkaya said: "Eight countries consume 75 per cent of the olive oil produced. The population of these countries constitutes approximately 5 percent of the world population. Currently, the amount of olive oil used in foreign trade in the world is 1 million tonnes.


Even if you think 'I have money, I want to buy a lot of olive oil', the amount of olive oil you will buy is 1 million tonnes. Currently, the biggest olive oil importer in the world, the USA, buys and consumes about 300 thousand tonnes of olive oil. However, the USA needs much more vegetable oil. Today, in order to increase the amount of olive oil in the world from 3 million tonnes to 6 million tonnes, we need to plant as many more trees. We need to wait at least 15 years for this."


"The biggest enemy of olive trees is climate change"

Özkaya stated that the biggest enemy of olive trees is climate change and that extreme cold and extreme heat kill the flowers of olive trees:

"One of the biggest problems in olive cultivation is ecology. Olives are resistant to climate change. Today, there are olive trees planted 25 metres apart in the Sahara desert. They grow without any irrigation. There is no rain in the Sahara. Due to the difference between day and night, moisture close to 150 millimetres of precipitation is formed by condensation. The olive tree benefits from this and grows. It bears fruit. You can grow an olive tree in a place with rainfall close to 600 and 1000 millimetres. Olive trees want the water regime they are used to. When they cannot find these, drying occurs."

Reminding that the flowers of olive trees were burnt in May 2019 due to extreme temperatures, Özkaya underlined that the same situation is expected in the coming years. Pointing out that olive trees were damaged when the air temperature in Spain reached 45 degrees Celsius, Özkaya said, "A similar situation is expected this year. The emergence of some flowers is in May and June. If heavy rains fall during that period or if it rains continuously, pollination will not occur. Flower dust will not fly and we will have trouble again. If it gets cold, this time the flowers will burn from the cold. In any case, the olive tree is a tree affected by the climate. The main reason for drying is the drying of the flowers. There is not much drying on the trees," he said.

"The olive tree can be moved when it goes into dormancy during the winter period"

Özkaya, Director of Ankara University Food Safety Institute, pointed out that there will be no problem in moving olive trees from one place to another and said, "If there is a tuber in the soil, you can move it with the tuber. Otherwise, you can move it very easily without disturbing the root system under the soil. It can be moved during the winter period when the olive tree is at rest. It can grow very easily where it goes and regain its former vitality."




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